Electric vehicles (EVs), their emissions, and future viability

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IndigoBlueWagon

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We talking about build quality or sales volume? Look on YouTube: lots of videos about Model 3 build quality. Not just panel gaps, although that is a problem. Poor paint (varying thickness, missed spots, dust in paint, orange peel), unfinished interior trim, and other issues. And then there are the stories about missed undercoating or sound deadening, post assembly repairs, etc.

Face it, Tesla doesn't know how to be a volume car manufacturer. Musk's ego seems to get in the way of hiring someone from Toyota, Honda, or even Ford that knows how to run a manufacturing plant. Not assembling and painting cars in a tent would be a start.

I suspect you're going to say these are all early teething problems or urban myths. But if I were to spend $40K on a new car I'd want more confidence in how it's built than Tesla offers.
 

turbobrick240

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Well, if the build quality is so terrible, it's interesting that a car that costs twice as much as the Mazda 3 outsold it 3:1. :) And I don't buy the argument(from anyone) that the Tesla buyers are all horrible, shallow people whose only interest is virtue signaling or status signaling or whatever.
Look at all of the problems VW are having with the ID3 rollout. Making cars, especially cutting edge cars, is a tough nut to crack. Tesla is a quick study however. They don't need Toyota's help. I highly doubt Toyota could build an EV factory the size of the Shanghai gigafactory in less than a year. Speaking of which, the Shanghai factory is going to blow some minds this year. The ramp up there is incredibly impressive.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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I know several people who own Teslas and they are in no way horrible or shallow. But I'll also say that most consumers aren't very discriminating about the quality of their new cars. If they were, GM would never sell anything. :D I saw an image Friday of the crooked stitching on the dashboards of the new Corvettes. $71K base price and they can't stitch a dashboard.

Elon Musk is a genius when it comes to building and marketing a brand. That's a big part of why Teslas sell so well. People want them: it doesn't make them shallow, any more than people who buy BMWs because they want to own a BMW. Or a Mercedes. But I will venture that the company's sales success has as much to do with the brand as it does with the product itself.

And regarding VW and their problems with ID3, I have a one word response: Bosch. After Dieselgate you'd think they'd learn.
 

Tin Man

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I know several people who own Teslas and they are in no way horrible or shallow. But I'll also say that most consumers aren't very discriminating about the quality of their new cars. If they were, GM would never sell anything. :D I saw an image Friday of the crooked stitching on the dashboards of the new Corvettes. $71K base price and they can't stitch a dashboard.
Elon Musk is a genius when it comes to building and marketing a brand. That's a big part of why Teslas sell so well. People want them: it doesn't make them shallow, any more than people who buy BMWs because they want to own a BMW. Or a Mercedes. But I will venture that the company's sales success has as much to do with the brand as it does with the product itself.
And regarding VW and their problems with ID3, I have a one word response: Bosch. After Dieselgate you'd think they'd learn.
I drive a 5-series but I know how similar it is to the Mercedes E-class in that both have an incredible amount of development and attention to detail from the durability, performance, body integrity, computer programming, etc. I know Tesla has also put a lot into their programming and design, but this is not equivalent to a well developed midsize German brought by years of stiff competition and high expectations. I would love to think Tesla has achieved this but don't believe it. For the money, you get different things. Just not equivalent things from Tesla. I don't know if the value of no oil changes or visits to gas stations is worth the price.
 
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turbobrick240

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That was a bit of hyperbole on my part about the horrible, shallow Tesla owners. The branding sells a lot of vehicles, no doubt. You know you've got effective branding when the marketing department is almost non existent. Think about how much VW spends on marketing. It's an awful lot. I hope VW can software patch the ID3. If they have to redesign the car with better integrated electronics that will be a major setback.
 

kjclow

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I agree, Moore's Law doesn't apply to batteries. It doesn't really apply to integrated circuits these days either. I don't think we'll ever see a ten fold increase in Li-ion battery energy density over today's best performers. I do think we'll see a precipitous drop in production costs though. EV tech has reached the "second half of the chessboard", imo.
Tomorrow's batteries will not be Li-ion based. Decreasing weight, adding range, and not having as much demand for cooling.
 

kjclow

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I really like the Mazda 3. If VW hadn't offered a tdi golf in 2011, I would have bought a Mazda 3 hatchback. But saying that they have better build quality than a Model 3 is like saying that a Fiero has better build quality than a Ferrari because a couple of the panel gaps are a micrometer more uniform. Yes, some/many of the very first Model 3's off the production line had issues, but that got resolved early on. I'm pretty sure the Model 3 outsold the Mazda 3 by a factor of 3:1 in the US in 2019.
You made a much better choice with the Golf than a Mazda 3. After half the miles, my son in laws 2010 Mazda 3 is a pile of doggy do compared to my 2010 JSW. Body trim pieces that won't stay on. Interior that is also falling apart. Cheap seats. Less rear legroom. Less hatch space than our 11 Golf. I will add that he doesn't care for his cars they way we do, but the things that are failing on his car aren't normal service items.
 

turbobrick240

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Tomorrow's batteries will not be Li-ion based. Decreasing weight, adding range, and not having as much demand for cooling.
I don't doubt that at all. I suspect Li-ion will be the dominant chemistry for EVs for at least the next decade though.

Yeah, I'm glad I bought the Golf. One of the best cars I've owned. I liked the platform enough that I chose a nearly identical gas golf to replace it.
 

kjclow

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My wife often says that she's glad we sold the Golf back because if the fix would have changed the driving characteristics of her Golf as much as it did the JSW, it would have broken her heart everytime she started the engine. Now I know the real reason she always gets lower mileage than I do!
 

03GolfTDI

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I'm not sure what direction this thread has gone.....but going to drop in to give my 1.5 month review of my 2016 e-Golf SE.
Hit 60k miles today - put a whopping 445 miles on the car in 1.5 months.Yeah it would have been maybe 1000 had covid-19 not happened and not been working from home the past 4 weeks. Regardless even 1000 miles in 1.5 months was not doing any favors for my TDI - hence the e-Golf.
So 1.5 months and 445 miles in here are my real world impressions.
Pros:
Electric motor torque: I can smoke anyone off the line - instant and seamless torque. Even in Eco mode I'm still way ahead of the game. Eco+ which severely limits power I am pretty much a car length ahead of (normal accelerating) traffic. If you have driven a golf cart - imagine a car version of that.
Handling:. I have driven a MKIV Golf TDI, MKIV Jetta 2.0, MKIV Beetle 2.0, MKV Jetta 2.5, MKVI Jetta 2.0 and my MKVI Jetta SW TDI prior to this. This thing handles and rides 10x better because of the battery ballast underneath - I know VW could not have made that much of a change in the platform from the 6th and 7th generation. Does not feel so nose heavy like its plowing into corners - the balance is amazing and was honestly quite shocking the first time. E-Golf apparently has a weight distribution close to a BMW. (53/47).
Maintenance: So prior owner leased this car from VW for 3 years and they took it in exactly once for a key fob issue based on the Carfax. VW still allowed it to be CPO.
It has a cooling system and radiator for the electric motor - so lets say 10 years to flush that. Hydraulic braking system requiring same changes as a gasser/diesel VW (2 years). Cabin filter (2 years). Tire rotation (~5k miles).
Thats it. Cabin filter I can do myself (MKVII its right behind the glove box) and tire rotation I can get done free at Discount Tire since I have spent so much $$ with them.
Build Quality:. It's a Golf. Seems to be built very well - my parents (they drive a Honda Pilot) commented on how solid the doors sounded when they closed. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Cons:

Heat: SE models do not have heat pumps and only strip heat. This kills range like you would not believe - turning the heat on will drop the range ~12-15 miles. On top of cold weather reducing range I am imagining my 80ish mile range will drop to the mid 40's during winter.
Range: My 2016 is the last of the 84 mile range models as VW upgraded the battery to 125 mile range for 2017. Even with 60k miles on my 2016 I am still getting ~78 miles under optimal conditions so I don't believe there is any battery degradation to worry about. If not I still have 5 years and 40k miles of battery degradation warranty under my belt.
Consumption:
$18.77 to date to go 445 miles. Using current diesel prices this would have cost me ~$48 with my TDI. Running about .04/mile.
Locality next to me has installed a number of free chargers so I could potentially get my cost to $0.00 if I play my cards right.

Overall:
I cannot say enough good things about this car 1.5 months in. It's "just right" as goldilocks would say. Gassers didn't fit, TDI didn't fit - electric fits my commute just right.
I had gassers on my terrible short commute for the first ~1.5 years and they were the absolute worst for fuel economy. ~37% below city rating for the gassers. I switched to TDI for a year which improved that a bit to ~17% under city rating. I was still abusing both both internal combustion engines by barely running them to operating temperature then shutting them down.
New stable is per below - electric for the horrific short commute. TDI Sportwagen for the more appropriate commute and possible longer trips.
 

oilhammer

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There are just too many to list....
Glad it is working for you, I like those cars a lot, but that range is pathetic. Awful lot of money to spend on something that cannot go anywhere.

It would work for my wife as an alternate car to and from town the few times a week she does so, though... but it won't offset a paid for car that we already have that seems to have no problems with short trips so far, even if it is not "ideal".

I'm also a fan of keeping things for a long time, and if the range continues to drop, that makes it even less appealing.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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I'm also a fan of keeping things for a long time, and if the range continues to drop, that makes it even less appealing.
This is one of the many reasons for range anxiety that I don't think I'd be willing to tolerate with an EV. Fans tend to cite the max range numbers, but they aren't really useful in the real world. Sub-optimal efficiency (component wear, tire inflation, whatever), hot or cold weather, and battery degradation, which fans also tend to talk down, but given where EVs are starting, any degradation is too much. These are just some. But most important, for efficient charging and longer battery life most manufacturers suggest keeping the battery in a range, varying from no less than 5-10% charge to a frequent charge level to 60-80%. Put together you end up with real-life range that's a fraction of what manufacturers advertise.
 

oilhammer

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There are just too many to list....
That is what happened a few years back with Quest. They bought a bunch of EVs (Focus) and for every one they put in service, they had to have a regular one on standby to use when the electric ones could not complete the routes. Ford sold them on their ability to do the task required, and they couldn't come close. If it was cold, the range was halved. If it was hot, the range was halved. If there was an out-of-the-ordinary traffic jams, they were stranded on the side of the road. It was a joke. Didn't last long though, they got the message after a few short months and they all went away. Lesson learned. Now if we could just get them to stop buying these awful Trax and Foresters.... :rolleyes:
 

Tin Man

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My wife still makes fun of me about the times I ran out of gas/diesel needing a small fuel container to the rescue. Bet you there are towing companies already offering an emergency battery charge out there. And yeah, I would be "daring" the low fuel gauge reading at times of bold self-assurance. Ha.
 

turbobrick240

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Less than 100 miles of range is pretty poor. But that still works as a second car for a lot of people. And the city car EV's with extremely low range are generally dirt cheap second hand.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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And the city car EV's with extremely low range are generally dirt cheap second hand.
They're really not. Last time I looked things like used Leafs are in the $8-10K range. You can get an awful lot of used ICE car for that kind of money. And if you're only driving it that amount fuel economy really doesn't matter.
 

turbobrick240

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They're really not. Last time I looked things like used Leafs are in the $8-10K range. You can get an awful lot of used ICE car for that kind of money. And if you're only driving it that amount fuel economy really doesn't matter.
You're right, I just looked on cargurus and the 2016 e-golfs start around $10k. Seems high for a low range EV with no thermal management system . There were as many e-golfs listed as Model 3's- I think half the e-golfs in the country are for sale. I did see a Model 3 listed for ~$20k- won't be long before there are tons of good deals on those.
 

oilhammer

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There are just too many to list....
I really would like to get an eGolf up in the air to look over its undersides to evaluate their viability for an ALH+02J conversion some time down the road. Great way to extend their life, and possibly dodge some of the inspection programs. :D
 

nayr

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Dealer loaned me a bright blue Q5 Hybrid, I'mna have it for like a month.. see when gasoline is stupid cheap, thats when they give you a loaner that gets great MPGs.

I hadn't really considered this vehicle, but my wife has become quite smitten with it.. she came home from a grocery run and asked if this was like what I was thinking of replacing her CC with down the road.. Well it is now, I've been trying to get this woman to want a hatchback for 15y now.

Her CC has ~60k miles after 10 years, so we've been averaging 6k miles a year on it.. these last few years I'd be surprised if it was half that.. she racked up most of that working across town, now she works from home and mebe goes into office 10m away once a week.. That 2.0L FSI has already clogged up one intake, and I fear its well on its way to clogging up its 2nd one.

This Q5 Hybrid checks a couple boxes, it can run PEV 95% of the time taking kiddos to school, getting groceries/beer.. these are all mile or two trips and doing a ton of wear and tear on our ICE vehicles. No range anxiety with the hybrid so an occasional trip to mountains or the far end of the metro wont require waiting at a charging station.. Its fast and sporty, is anything but ugly, and has the clearance and AWD that would do fine when CC was stranded because our sideroads were terrible.

The EV range of this is rather terrible by most standards, but its more than enough for a grocery getter.. Our EV needs could be fufilled by a Golf Cart tho, if it was not for the bad weather and legality issues.
 

03GolfTDI

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The short range is not an issue for me at all - yeah the 125 mile version would be more convenient but the 84 mile edition is not a challenge by any means. Its ~3 miles to work, ~.5 mile to the convenience store, ~1 mile to the grocery store, Target and Home Depot. I have everything I need within a 3-5 mile radius.

This stay at home I am only needed a charge up every 8-10 days. Even when I was still going into the office 4 days a week I was only having to charge ~1.5x per week.

Yes the electric cars will not work for someone in a very remote area that has a long distance to drive to get to work. On the same token the TDI was not very appropriate for me driving 3 miles to work in 20 degree weather. Two different tools for two different projects.
 

Tin Man

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I'm still concerned that virtue signaling by the EV fans misses major areas of pollution brought by EV's as much as ICE vehicles.

Real consequential particulate pollution in cities doesn't come exclusively or even mostly from exhaust emissions: Spatial distribution of non-exhaust particulate matter emissions from road traffic for the city of Bogota – Colombia
In this work we used the US-EPA and the EEA methodologies to estimate the non-exhaust PM2.5 and PM10 emissions for the city of Bogota (Colombia). These emissions included brake wear, tire wear and abrasion of paved and unpaved road surfaces. We also used traffic counts, activity data and a domain of 40x40 Km with cells of 1x1 Km to spatially distribute these emissions. The results show that near 54% of all the PM2.5 emitted in the city comes from non-exhaust emissions (traffic exhaust emissions: 26%; industry: 20%), which agrees with results reported in other cities of the world. The results also reveal that near 80% of the non-exhaust PM emissions come from light-weight vehicles. Non-exhaust PM2.5 and PM10 emissions are higher in the West of the city, an area with more deteriorated roads, higher volumes of vehicles, and with the highest levels of particles concentrations in the city.
Many studies are based on an association between city dwelling and death rates/atherosclerosis. Here is one that tries to differentiate the origins and quality of these fine particulates: Association of fine particulate matter from different sources with daily mortality in six U.S. cities
We extracted daily counts of deaths from National Center for Health Statistics records and estimated city-specific associations of mortality with each source factor by Poisson regression, adjusting for time trends, weather, and the other source factors. Combined effect estimates were calculated as the inverse variance weighted mean of the city-specific estimates. In the combined analysis, a 10 microg/m(3) increase in PM(2.5) from mobile sources accounted for a 3.4% increase in daily mortality [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.7-5.2%], and the equivalent increase in fine particles from coal combustion sources accounted for a 1.1% increase [CI, 0.3-2.0%). PM(2.5) crustal particles were not associated with daily mortality. These results indicate that combustion particles in the fine fraction from mobile and coal combustion sources, but not fine crustal particles, are associated with increased mortality.
"Fine crustal particles" (road dust, cement, tire dust) were not associated with daily mortality but a long-term study (over 10 years) was encouraged.

We have studies that associated fine particulate matter with mortality but this is only an association, which doesn't prove causation. Yet we have EPA regulators that insist we cut down on exhaust emissions that will make literally no effect if minuscule on overall pollution while also singling out coal production which makes a bit more sense. We don't really know if dust from roads and tires have much if any role in decreased health over the long term. At least we are starting to talk about it, a little: https://www.forbes.com/sites/mattpe...-more-environmental-regulations/#463c04ae5808 but this amounts to a hit piece with no real data on outcomes.
 
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wxman

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...Real consequential particulate pollution in cities doesn't come exclusively or even mostly from exhaust emissions...
More on non-exhaust PM2.5 emissions:

CARB (hardly an ICEV supporter) estimates that ~85% of traffic-generated PM2.5 emissions are from non-exhaust sources in 2020 based on its emission inventory calculator (https://www.arb.ca.gov/app/emsinv/fcemssumcat2016.php). If my math is correct, ~2.18 tons per day (TPD) of PM2.5 comes from on-road diesel exhaust, ~1.76 TPD comes from on-road non-diesel exhaust, and ~23.21 TPD comes from brake and tire wear.

A report by the UK government (https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/assets/...90709_Non_Exhaust_Emissions_typeset_Final.pdf) estimates approximately the same percentage of non-exhaust emissions based on Tables 1-3. Based on Figures 2&3, exhaust sources of both PM2.5 and PM10 will continue to become a smaller and smaller portion.

Emissions Analytics has measured extremely high emission rates from tires, although most of the PM mass appears to be PM10 or greater (https://www.emissionsanalytics.com/news/2020/1/28/tyres-not-tailpipe). Modern diesel cars actually filter ambient air of particles, even relatively clean air in some scenarios, according to EA measurements.
 

turbobrick240

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Fine Crustal Particles- yo, that's my favorite 80's rock band!
 

tikal

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They're really not. Last time I looked things like used Leafs are in the $8-10K range. You can get an awful lot of used ICE car for that kind of money. And if you're only driving it that amount fuel economy really doesn't matter.
I would argue that certain three-year old EVs, with thermally conditioned batteries, coming off lease in the range of $10-12K might be a good value to keep seven years or more as city vehicles. Their overall cost of ownership could be competitive at that point in comparison to a similar sized ICE vehicle.

Question would be: would they hold a range of at least 50 miles when they are 10 years old?

On the other hand, the cost premium of a new EV in the next five years or so, regardless of range, will make the sale growth fairly linear in my view.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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I disagree. You could buy an older 2.slow Jetta in good condition, for example, for $2K, and if you use it for short distance driving you'd probably only have minimal maintenance requirements. Taxes and insurance would cost less. And it would probably still be worth $2K when you want to part with it unless you trash it.
 

tikal

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Fair points. I was looking for a more apples to apples comparison in terms of being three year old cars, one ICE the other one EV.

Ok, I realize many of us like the build quality of a German vehicle like VW. I own one and intend to keep it as long as safely possible. But for the sake of argument let's put that aside and not concentrate on a certain brand vs a potential comparable EV competition. Shall we?
 

tikal

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More on non-exhaust PM2.5 emissions:

CARB (hardly an ICEV supporter) estimates that ~85% of traffic-generated PM2.5 emissions are from non-exhaust sources in 2020 based on its emission inventory calculator (https://www.arb.ca.gov/app/emsinv/fcemssumcat2016.php). If my math is correct, ~2.18 tons per day (TPD) of PM2.5 comes from on-road diesel exhaust, ~1.76 TPD comes from on-road non-diesel exhaust, and ~23.21 TPD comes from brake and tire wear.

A report by the UK government (https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/assets/...90709_Non_Exhaust_Emissions_typeset_Final.pdf) estimates approximately the same percentage of non-exhaust emissions based on Tables 1-3. Based on Figures 2&3, exhaust sources of both PM2.5 and PM10 will continue to become a smaller and smaller portion.

Emissions Analytics has measured extremely high emission rates from tires, although most of the PM mass appears to be PM10 or greater (https://www.emissionsanalytics.com/news/2020/1/28/tyres-not-tailpipe). Modern diesel cars actually filter ambient air of particles, even relatively clean air in some scenarios, according to EA measurements.
Very enlightening wxman! Very thankful for this. It puts things in perspective. For me it does not mean trying to do better with our transportation choices in terms of the environment but it does give it a much needed context!
 

nayr

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My buddy who dont drive much loves his Volt, but I think thats mostly due to the fact he charges it for free at work and only puts gasoline in it when it forces him to burn it off due to aging out..

I think its an ugly heap, different strokes for different folks.. when commuting in a grind every day a beater is fine, when you work from home the few times a week you go out and get to drive you kinda wanna enjoy it.

The VAG Hybrids that are coming out fill a nice niche for me, good looking, fun, sporty, burn dino fuel when we want and the PEV portion of the equation would greatly reduce the wear and tear on the ICE portion for a mostly city vehicle.

Most hybrids have been entirely uninspired, boring, and slow without even having the ability to run as a PEV.. so was never even remotely interested, but I'm digging VAG's new middleground approach with very little downsides and a whole lot of upsides for use cases other than trying to save the environment with a crappy car or trying to commute on a budget.. neither of which I'm wanting to do.

I'll still need my diesel tho for pulling my trailer, and people hauling, and basic traveling.. which despite us not commuting with it is still significantly more miles than most people travel per year.
 
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